‘Hold On!’ NBC’s Alexander Fights with WH’s Sanders Over Gun Control in Light of School Shootings

Since CNN’s Jim Acosta wasn’t there for Wednesday’s White House press briefing, NBC’s Peter Alexander seized Acosta’s position of coming to blows with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in front of the cameras. The topic? Gun control measures in response to school shootings. 

What began as a pedestrian back and forth morphed into the usual shouting matches that readers and viewers have come to expect from the liberal media when they puff themselves up.

 

 

Alexanders started by listing three recent school shootings and how “[t]here have been 11 shootings at schools in the first 23 days of this year.” Therefore, he wanted to know “[w]hat has the President done” since the October 1 Las Vegas shooting “to try to prevent any of these shootings from taking place.”

Sanders noted that no shooting is acceptable and cited a claim about there having been a rise in violence prior to President Trump taking office. She added that Trump has made halting crime “a top priority” with record numbers of firearm prosecutions, gang convictions, and drug trafficking takedowns in the last year.

Alexander slowly turned up the heat:

You said we all agree that we want students to be safe in schools. That's not in dispute and we all agree we don't want there to be crime, but what is the president specifically doing? You said at the time today is not the day but we should have these policies — you said here....you said we should be having policy conversations. So, the question is, what is the policy that the President is willing to pursue or actively direct others to actively pursue to make sure these students are safe?

The White House official largely reiterated her previous points plus instructions from the Department of Justice to the ATF “to do a thorough review on a number of firearm provisions,” but Alexander continued to press.

Eventually, the two came to blows with Sanders swatting him down:

ALEXANDER: But will the President come before the nation and tell Americans how he feels about this issue and try to do what he can with the bully pulpit to help.

SANDERS: I think he has, Peter. I mean, to sit there and question — 

ALEXANDER: He hasn’t. Isn’t that enough time?

SANDERS: — I'm sorry. Hold on.

ALEXANDER: So you’re saying there’s not enough time?

SANDERS: I was polite and letting you finish. 

ALEXANDER: I'll listen. 

SANDERS: Let me be very clear on this. The fact that you're basically accusing the President of being complicit in a school shooting is outrageous. 

ALEXANDER: I'm not. It’s his advertisement that accuses the Democrats of being complicit on a different topic. I'm not accusing the president of anything.

Moments later, Alexander claimed that he’s simply “concerned about the students in America who want to know what he’s doing.” But remember, journalists are unbiased and just want the facts.

“The President has been very clear and instructed the top law enforcement agency in this country to crack down on crime and to do everything they can to prevent these types of things. We've talked about it here numerous times and we're going to continue moving forward in that process,” Sanders concluded before leaving the podium. 

Here’s the relevant transcript from January 24's White House press briefing:

White House press briefing
January 24, 2018
2:57 p.m. Eastern

PETER ALEXANDER: Sarah, let me ask you. On Tuesday, it was a high school in Kentucky. Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas, a charter school parking lot in New Orleans as well. There have been 11 shootings at schools in the first 23 days of this year. In October after the Vegas shooting, you said it was an unspeakable tragedy, from that podium, said it was day for consoling survivors and mourning those whom we lost. You said there's a time and place for political debate. What has the President done in the time since October to try to prevent any of these shootings from taking place? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think first and foremost, to recognize that any loss of life is incredibly sad and any shooting at any school across this country is something that should never happen. Students fearing for their lives while they're attempting to get an education is unacceptable. Certainly in this administration and by this administration, the President believes that all Americans deserve to be safe in their schools and in their communities. We've had two years of increased violence prior to the President taking office. We've tried to crack down on crime throughout the country. The President instructed his administration to make the recent crime wave a top priority. Some of the things that they've accomplished in that process and been focused on as they've charged more defendants with violent crime offenses than in any year in decades. They've charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade and they’ve convicted 1200 gang members and took down drug trafficking, all in an attempt to create safer, better communities and certainly safer schools. 

ALEXANDER: To be clear, Sarah —

SANDERS: Thanks so much,, guys. 

ALEXANDER: — wait, Sarah, to be clear. You said we all agree that we want students to be safe in schools. That's not in dispute and we all agree we don't want there to be crime, but what is the president specifically doing? You said at the time today is not the day but we should have these policies — you said here —

SANDERS: Look, I just read off an awful lot of things he's doing. 

ALEXANDER:  — you said we should be having policy conversations. So, the question is, what is the policy that the President is willing to pursue or actively direct others to actively pursue to make sure these students are safe? 

SANDERS: Look, I know that the Department of Justice instructed ATF to do a thorough review on a number of firearm provisions. That is ongoing and it’ll be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. We're going through that process, that policy review and policy discussion is taking place. At the same time, the President has instructed the Department of Justice to crack down and make the crime wave that took place long before the President ever came into office a major priority and you're seeing that happen. You're seeing the Department of Justice that is being active, empowering its law enforcements’ to crack down on crime and that's what those results that I just readout to you show is that they’re putting a focus on that.

ALEXANDER: But are school shootings a crime wave? School shootings seem to be their own category. We agree we don't want crime. 

SANDERS: I think they're part of a crime wave, absolutely. I don't think you can completely separate the two. They are a part of domestic violence and I think that it certainly would be part of a crime wave that we are focused on addressing and you can see some of the things that we've done since taking office. 

ALEXANDER: But will the President come before the nation and tell Americans how he feels about this issue and try to do what he can with the bully pulpit to help.

SANDERS: I think he has, Peter. I mean, to sit there and question — 

ALEXANDER: He hasn’t. Isn’t that enough time?

SANDERS: — I'm sorry. Hold on.

ALEXANDER: So you’re saying there’s not enough time?

SANDERS: I was polite and letting you finish. 

ALEXANDER: I'll listen. 

SANDERS: Let me be very clear on this. The fact that you're basically accusing the President of being complicit in a school shooting is outrageous. 

ALEXANDER: I'm not. It’s his advertisement that accuses the Democrats of being complicit on a different topic. I'm not accusing the president of anything.

SANDERS: Ignoring the fact that the safety and security of our borders —

ALEXANDER: I’m concerned about the students in America who want to know what he’s doing.

SANDERS: — is very different. The President has been very clear and instructed the top law enforcement agency in this country to crack down on crime and to do everything they can to prevent these types of things. We've talked about it here numerous times and we're going to continue moving forward in that process. 

NB Daily Crime Education Las Vegas Shooting Guns Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ATF NBC White House Press Briefing Justice Department Peter Alexander Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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